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"Beauty and the Beast" - HotChillee's 2014 Alpine Challenge the Toughest to Date

by Nick Gregory

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The fifth edition of HotChillee's ALPINE CHALLENGE finished this weekend in the Alps in glorious weather conditions, the best - according to locals - of the entire summer. Based out of the beautiful lakeside town of Annecy, there couldn't have been more of a contrast between the peaceful setting and the brutal parcours. 

A prologue and three stages, covering 350km and nearly 8,000m of climbing on slopes averaging between 6-12% meant that riders, at times, were simply thinking of survival rather than stage times. The most testing day was Day 1, with the prologue (the 15% Col de la Forclaz) and a finish at the top of Semnoz, one of Europe's most underrated mountains. The stage was 140km long and included 3,300m of climbing. 

Sven Thiele, founder of HotChillee said: "This was the hardest Alpine Challenge by a significant margin. Day 1 was brutal, and a shock to many riders - even the ex-pros. The attrition rate was high, with over 15% not officially finishing the entire course. However, the satisfaction to all was extremely high. It has understandably been the most emotional finish to date. I'm extremely impressed with the newcomers to the sport who pushed themselves well beyond their perceived limits and achieved so much in the process." 

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Magnus Backstedt gives Dave Dent the "look" with Paul Vine following on stage 3

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Kelli Bayliss in the G!RO Cycles Leaders Jersey from start to finish

Stephen Roche, who rode his fifth consecutive Alpine Challenge said: "This was by far the hardest, but also the most rewarding. It has taken all the riders to a new level. The racing for the jersey was also brilliant to see and I must congratulate Dave Dent, who took the Men's jersey in his second year despite strong competition from Magnus Backstedt; and Kelli Bayliss, who takes the Women's leaders jersey for the second time." 

Paris-Roubaix legend, Magnus Backstedt, who was in contention for the G!RO Cycles Jersey said: "I was pushed to my extremes and loved it. I tip my hat to the passionate sportive riders who pushed themselves beyond their limits." 

Matt Moran of Wattbike commented: "This was a case of the beauty and the beast, but despite being absolutely smashed at the end of every stage, I still loved it...well now I do." 

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Hard not to celebrate in the perfect setting of race village on Lac d'Annecy

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Some of the HotChillee Ride Captains at the finish

The Ride Captains for each group also put forward a rider for the "HotChillee Spirit Award", who best represents the ethos of the brand and the event. 

G4 - Anna Harris 

G3 - Ed Hayes 

G2 - Richard Line 

G1 - Peter Lawery  

Overall 

Men
1. Dave Dent (UK)                       2:05:04     G!RO Cycles Leaders Jersey 
2. Magnus Backstedt (Sweden)     2:06:24
3. Paul Vine (UK)                         2:13:05
 
Women
1. Kelli Bayliss (Australia)            2:35:13     G!RO Cycles Leaders Jersey
2. Rebecca Johnson (USA)            2:45:32
3. Tamala McGee (UK)                  2:47:34
 
The dates for next year's event is 9-13 September 2015 with Early Bird entries opening on the 24th September 14:00 BST.

For more information: www.thealpinechallenge.com





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